Words by David Fernandez
Images by Eric Soule & David Fernandez
The Red Sea, Sudan, one of the last frontiers for fly fishing, located in the northeastern part of Africa where the Nubian desert meet the sea. It’s an incredible area of flats and atolls full of corals, white sand and turquoise waters. David Fernandez has been there for three and a half months guiding and fishing on the Red Sea, exploring these pristine waters. From the endless flats of the coastal line in the north to the remote atolls in the south.
Here, you are going to find a place with no fishing pressure, which in some areas makes the fish very aggressive and unafraid of you. There are only two expedition-running companies that offers fly fishing trips in Sudan, and the work together. Other than that there diving trips, because all these beautiful reefs makes it the second best destination in the world to go diving.
An interesting fact is the “non-existent” tides. Since it’s only 40 cm difference between high tide and low tide, this means we need the wind to make waves and push fresh water into the flats. Otherwise the water becomes to warm during the day.
In the Red Sea we find a few of the most exotic species thanks to the waters being warm during the whole year. One of it’s most popular citizens to target is the trigger fish. There are few species on the flats but the most common are the Titan and the Yellow Margin. These fish are one of the most fun and interesting species to target. Because each one of them is completely different in terms of behavior and reaction, it’s always a surprise when you catch one.
Another citizen on these waters is one of the most popular fish in the world – the Giant Trevally. It’s very powerful and aggressive, and one of the apex predators of the flats. The average size in Sudan is around 80 cm, and most of the days we get more than one shot on the “Geets” but we do not always win. Although you set the hook properly, these fishes are not easy to land in this enviroment full of corals where you easily can snap your line and leader. Sometimes the fish even hits it’s head against the corals, which can make the hook come off and result in a lost fish.
There are many other species we can find on the flats or in the edge of the reef – like Bohar Snapper, Bluefin Trevally, Permit, Bonefish, Brown Marbled Grouper and Coral Trout. All of them are perfect to target with the fly rod.
The flats of Sudan could be one of the most difficult place to work as a guide. The general rule is that if you find fish in a specific location, you will find them there again if the weather and tide conditions are similar. But as the tide in the Red Sea is weak and much affected by the wind, it is more difficult to predict the movement of the water, compared to other bodies of water where the moon has a bigger and stronger influence. We know the flats very well but all these facts make every day different.
We have been fishing with the new LPX Coastal for a few weeks on the flats, and for us it’s one of the best rods we have ever tried. By being light and smooth, it makes up for long distance casting, even when the wind is blowing. It’s also powerful to fight the fish with. The light feeling of the rod makes the 10wt feel like a 8wt. We also have to add that we think it’s one of the best quality rods in its price range. For this trip, we chose the LPX Coastal 9´#8, 9´ #10 and 9´ #12 for targeting the different species on the flats.
The 8wt is perfect when we want to fish for Trigger fish, Bonefish or small Trevally species using flexo crabs and small shrimp patterns. Usually we use the 10wt for Trigger Fish in rocky/coral flats where you have to put pressure on the fish, before it can find it’s way into a crack in the rocks. The LPX Coastal 10-weight is a perfect rod for permit and smaller Trevally spieces, like Bluefins, using in this case flexo crabs and shrimps too. It’s also perfect to use from the boat while fishing for smaller fish with small clousers.
When we choose the 12wt, we are looking for big or powerful fish as the “Geets”, big Bluefins, Groupers, Snappers and all these kind of predatory fish that you fish for with big brush flies. On the flats, reef or from the boat, these three rods are able to cover all needs on your fishing trip.